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How does your environment shape your behaviour?

24th September 2021

How does your environment shape your behaviour?

If you go for a walk along a flat, tarmac, straight path, you will likely move your body in a fairly predictable, repetitive way.

If you walk along a footpath in a woodland you will have to negotiate tree roots and other natural objects to move over and around, there may be gates to go through, you may crouch down to look at bugs, or wild flowers or fungi, or point up to something in the trees.

Without realising and by doing a similar activity you have used your joints, muscles, vision, nervous system in a much more varied way.

If you give children access to outside space or a park, they will naturally climb, crawl, swing and jump without it being deliberate ‘exercise’.

As we grow up and many folk spend more time in chairs and on technology we move less. We lose strength, fitness, mobility and even confidence to move.

And as we age this can have a real impact on our function and health.

We are all products of our environment and for many of us our movement environment is not positive, dividing our time between our cars, chair and sofa and then perhaps (for some) a short burst of intense exercise.

Ask yourself the following questions:

When was the last time you sat on the floor?

Can you get up from the floor easily?

Can you stand up from the sofa without using your arms?

When was the last time you climbed on something?

When was the last time you walked up a hill?

When did you last do something at floor level, on your knees or crouching/squatting?

When was the last time you did something that challenged your balance?

How often do you do exercise that involves play or imagination?

When did you last go barefoot?

If the answer to most of those was ‘ages ago!’ Or ‘hardly ever’ then start small.

Notice your habitual movements and try to build in some variety.

Notice your environment and how it contributes to your lack of mobility.

Maybe next time you go to the park with the kids, instead of watching from the bench, have a go on the monkey bars or swings.

Have fun, play and move your body all at the same time!

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